The secret origin of Jay Didillo as explained by Rob Granito


Famed comic book spoofer Rob Granito has finally answered some direct questions, and didn’t get paid to do so, which is awesome. . But the origin of such things as Jay Didillo, Granito’s nonexistent collaborator on a nonexistent DC book, is strangely prosaic:

Yeah, again this is something else I didn’t explain when I should have, and it’s blown up in my face! I met an editor at a Con a few months back, and he gave me his card, and as best as I can remember, his name sounded like that. He said he was looking for up and coming artists for a Batman book about different eras of Batman or whatever, and he would keep me in mind. It happened! I just lost his card and can’t remember the other specific details, but nobody can prove it didn’t happen. I’m sorry my memory isn’t absolutely perfect but I meet a lotta people at shows.

This guy and Newt Gingrich should team up for a new Straight Talk Express! Gingrich could explain how talking to the press rattles him badly, and Granito can unprove things that also never didn’t happen. Also. But he does contend that “I’m not running for office or something.” and there’s no fun in that, alas.

Jeffrey Catherine Jones: "The fear has left me"

Filmmaker Maria Cabardo has posted a really poignant video of Jeffrey Catherine Jones talking about dying, and her acceptance of it. I know the word poignant is overused, but it truly applies here — the content is sad, but it is also peaceful and in the end comforting.


Studio Coffee Run

-The Norse God continued to bring the hammer down at the North American Box Office for the second weekend in a row, contradicting industry buzz that Thor‘s premiere would herald the comics movie bubble end times (via HitFix)

-Not Comics Behold, the first images of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in the movie adaptation of the hit sci fi dystopian blockbuster YA series The Hunger Games (Scholastic) have been revealed (via EW)

-The rights for another top selling scholastic property, the graphic novel series Amulet by Kazu Kibushi, have reportedly been picked up by Warner Brothers and Will Smith (yes, he of the Fresh Bel Air princeyness). Smith is rumored to be considering casting his real life uber cute brood as Amulet’s brother and sister team, Navin and Emily (via The Beat)

-The first trailer for the Stephen Speilberg directed and Peter Jackson and Speilberg co-produced live action film, The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn was released (via The Beat)

-Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has been tapped by Warner Brothers to reboot everyone’s favorite Stone Age Family, The Flintstones, for the post post ironic generation (via MTV Geek)

-Adult Swim announced three new series at its Upfront event last night in New York (via Deadline)

-Not Comics The Russell T. Davies Executive Produced US Version of Torchwood, premiering on the STARZ network on July 8 at 10 pm ET/PT announced an impressive line up of guest stars this week (via STARZ PR), including UK Torchwood alumni, John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Kai Owen, along with Nana Visitor (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), John DeLancie  (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Mare Winningham (Mildred Pierce)  and Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”).

– In case you’ve been wondering what you’d do to pass the time in between the everyday tragedies and terrors of a Zombiepocalpyse, wonder no more – The Walking Dead board game is here! (via iCv2)

-Punk rock legend, Henry Rollins opened up and shared about voicing the character of Kilowog for the DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights through an official press release (via CBR). The interview notably does not mention comics collective, Igloo Tornado, who according to this week’s LA Weekly, are officially four of the best people in all of Los Angeles now and love him very much, albeit maybe a little unnaturally. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will be available from Warner Home Video on Blu-Ray™, DVD, On Demand and for Download on June 7, 2011 .

RIP: Jeffrey Catherine Jones 2011-5-19 9:42:25.png
Jeffrey Catherine Jones, the fantasy artist who helped introduce fine art and illustration influences to comics in the ’70s and beyond, has died of complications from emphysema and bronchitis, according to numerous reports. She was 67.

In the early 70s, then known just as Jeffrey, Jones helped form The Studio, a group of cartoonists/illustrators that included Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson and Barry Windsor-Smith. Jones was known for her lyrical linework and ethereal paintings, which prompted Frazetta himself to say that Jones was “the world’s greatest living painter.” Although she produced the comics strip Idyll for National Lampoon in the ’70s, Jones was best known for her book covers, prints, and painting, with only a brief dabbling in comics.

In recent years, she had experienced many ups and downs, including a period of extreme financial need that friends had rallied to get her through. Her health had declined due to several long-term issues, however, and in recent weeks has been moved to a hospice. Friends on Facebook report that she died surrounded by family, and with her art posed on easels around her room.

Jones was prolific on Facebook, posting a constant stream of sketches, including the one above, posted just 9 days ago, all showing her mastery of line and form.

Filmmaker Maria Cabardo has been working on a documentary about Jones called BETTER THINGS, ample proof that Jones led a rich, fascinating life filled with astounding art.

More of Jones’ art can be seen here.

Green Lantern exhibit at Cartoon Art Museum

It’s getting very green around here. SF’s Cartoon Art Museum has a gala opening for a Green Lantern exhibit on Thursday, June 9th — it’s a “green tie” event we’re told. We want in on that!

“In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight!  Let those who worship evil’s might beware my power—Green Lantern’s light!”

Just in time for Green Lantern’s theatrical debut, the Cartoon Art Museum is presenting the first museum exhibition celebrating 70 years of DC Comics’ Emerald Knight!  Over 60 pieces of original artwork will be on display, featuring highlights from some of the most celebrated artists in Green Lantern’s publishing history  Iconic works by Silver Age artists Gil Kane and Neal Adams will be exhibited, along with classic stories and covers by Joe Staton, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Brian Bolland, Brent Anderson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Golden Age Greats Irwin Hasen and Green Lantern co-creator Martin Nodell.  

To celebrate the exhibition, the Cartoon Art Museum is hosting a once-in-a-lifetime “Green Tie” gala with original artwork and popular Green Lantern creators.  This celebration takes place Thursday, June 9, 2011 starting at 7:00 pm at San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum at 655 Mission Street.  Tickets to The Green Tie Event are only $30, or $15 for current Cartoon Art Museum members.  Each purchased ticket includes an optional guest ticket.

At this special event, visitors will be treated to a private viewing of the exhibition with the Cartoon Art Museum’s curatorial staff while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres.  Best of all, you will mingle with some of the most talented Green Lantern writers from the past four decades, along with other comic book creators.  Tickets for this fundraising event can be purchased through Guestlist Ticketing:

Guests of Honor for the Green Tie event include: 

• Steve Englehart (Green Lantern Corps, Detective Comics)
• Mike Friedrich (Green Lantern, Justice League of America)
• Gerard Jones (Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, Justice League International)
• Judd Winick (Green Lantern, Batman)

Additional programming for this exhibition will be announced throughout the summer.

ELFQUEST to be on iPad/iPhone?

It’s funny how something that has been around forever can still get a blog boost — as we reported yesterday, some 6500 pages of ELFQUEST comics are online, to read, for FREE — but they have been up for more than two years. Our post got Boing Boinged, and Richard Pini, WARP Graphics co-everything, wrote in to answer some questions in that thread, especially complaints about the Flash interface (one wag posted a link to the complete Elfquest on a bit torrent site.)

First, thanks for putting this “old news” back in the news.

Second, please don’t ascribe to any sense of planning (or malice, or a desire to make your lives difficult) what can be laid at the doorstep of the simple wish to have a comics reader experience available at all. Keep in mind that the Elfquest comics went online early in 2009, when for most of the world, Flash was What There Was. The entire Apple vs. Flash hooraw didn’t surface until over a year later.

Third, we are looking into making all that lovely content available to the iPad/iPod/iPhone audience even as I type these words.

Fourth, while I know there’s not a goddam thing I can do about it (in response to the crowing about a torrent being made available in “less than two minutes”), I’m still old-school enough to resent someone coming into our house and taking our stuff without so much as a by-your-leave. You’re talking about the work of over half of two lifetimes as if it was a post-it note.

For the record, I am not the RIAA-mindset, insisting that anyone should go through impossible hoops to access our work. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have put the stuff online in the first place. For free. (Or for a donation, thanks for the suggestion.) But geez, just a little respect, huh? Or is that unacceptably old-school?

Anyway, I wanted to weigh in from the source before this thread went spinning out into the IMOsphere. Thanks for reading.

To be honest, if someone makes a comic available for free on the web in a shitty format, I might just download a readable bootleg version of it, because the net result is the same. But a legit version would be even better! ELFQUEST is not currently in print — its last publisher was DC, which put out a series of archives starting in 2003.

Kibbles 'n' Bits: Thor puppet, new readers, more Comic-Con secrets

§ Glove and Boots is a puppet show on YouTube which has been away for a few years, but they are back now with a very cute Thor puppet which comes in at about the 2:30 mark, proving that a Jack Kirby design also looks good on a puppet. Thanks to John W for the link.


§ Marvel’s Michael Pasciullo talks about a comic-making app that is aimed at getting kids more engeged with Marvel:

This is a very important time for Marvel as well as the entire comic book industry. Between the movies, television shows, comic books, video games, and licensed products, there are so many ways for people to be introduced to and engage with Marvel characters. And many times once they get introduced to them, they want more. I think when kids start using the Comic Creator app and learning about sequential storytelling, it’s going to compel them to start reading comic books, whether it be in printed or digital format. It’s a great way to not only introduce them to “how” to read a comic book but also get them interested in the characters as well.

§ Artist/colorist Moose Baumann needs some help: he may lose his house because his wife made the mistake of getting cancer. Only in America, kids! Baumann is selling prints and so on.

§ Frequent Beat adversary Mr. Patches is back with an entertaining look at movies that had big splashes at the San Diego Comic-Con, and whether they were successful afterwards. For instance remember…ECKS Vs. SEVER? What about GHOSTS OF MARS?

What Went Down: As celebratory as Comic-Con can be, it can also have the opposite effect. Movies can take a stab in the dark for much needed publicity only to be grilled by fans, ending worse off than they were before. That’s what happened to John Carpenter (thanks to JoBlo for the insider’s account!), who arrived with his film Ghosts of Mars only to be skewered by an unreceptive audience who was anxious for a Spider-Man panel (understandable, but still). They groaned at the footage and were flippant towards the horror master and his stars Joanna Cassidy and Richard Cetrone, who even dressed in full “ghost” make-up. Not a great reaction for a movie readying for its release.

While there have been way more Comic-Con flops than hits — SNAKES ON A PLANE, SKY CAPTAIN– the only problem is that we have no idea how well the movies would have done WITHOUT all the Comic-Con coverage. For instance, Fox has ditched Hall H for several years with varying results. J.J. Abrams didn’t show a frame of STAR TREK and it did just fine. However, as long as Hollywood execs fear that the other studio is getting something by heading down to Comic-Con, they’ll be jostling for position.

Amazing, Beautiful, Amazing: Who will win American Idol???

This is so not comics, but the Final Three go at it tonight and we’d been saving up some notes. We started watching American Idol a few years ago because we felt the need to pay attention to at least one thing that wasn’t nerdy but instead reflected the more mundane and/or inane side of culture — something universal, just so when we had to hang out with normal people we wouldn’t be entirely defenseless. Plus former judges Simon and Kara talked about music a little and it was interesting. But that was then. This season’s judges, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez excel at nothing but praise, blather and administering something called the “amazing” scale:

1 amazing = about ready for Rocktime Karaoke at that place down behind the mall.
2 amazings = will someday star in a YouTube video
3 amazings = talent

Actually we did have some kind of comics metaphor in this season’s AI — when everything is amazing…nothing is. (Paging Bob Parr.) As much as we try to be egalitarian in this comics world, we do it no favors by letting sentimentality get the better of us and praising substandard work because we feel bad. That actually hurts the GOOD work. That’s not elitism — it’s common sense.

Not that anyone cares — ratings are up, JLO is the world’s most beautiful woman, and Tyler has a bestselling book. Exposure works!

Anyway, on to the contestants.

We were a little surprised when James Durbin was voted off last week. Unlike every other contestant, he didn’t care how he sounded and just sang with emotion. Unfortunately this led to blubbering like a walrus half the time. Plus, in his first appearance it was mentioned that he had both Tourette’s Syndrome and high-function autism. The first one was very much in evidence with the funny faces and squintables he was always having. If he won, it would have been one wild ride.

So on to those who might win.

Haley Reinhart — 13-1

The one person who the judges don’t shower with amazings and beautifuls, probably because she is young and doesn’t really know what she’s doing. She knows how to look pissed, however, as the above still shows. Although a real cutie, America does not like pissy pouty girls who get annoyed when they’ve been judge-f*cked. HOWEVER, last night she did herself solid by doing well on actual non-country songs that people had heard, by Led Zep, Fleetwood Mac and Alanis Morissette,

Lauren Alaina – 7-1

Thank god she’s a country girl! Only 16, Lauren exemplifies the fear and insecurity most of us have when we’re sixteen by not knowing how to take a chance. Mentor Jimmy Iovine rightly nailed her when she didn’t hold the right note in “Unchained Melody” — everyone from Ricky Nelson to Bono knows that “need” is the money note! Nonetheless, Lauren’s non-threatening country demeanor should take her to the final two. She does have a great voice but all three songs last night were total snoozers…to us anyway.

Scotty McCreery – 1-2

Scotty’s winning has been a forgone conclusion ever since he unleashed his smooth country baritone at auditions, even if he does hold the mike like he’s about to blow it, oh so tenderly. At first we were very impressed by this 18-year-old’s poise, standing up for what’s right, and natural talent, but ever since he figured out he was going to win he’s gotten a little unbearable with the country pronunciation that sounds like a parody, and pandering crap like a 9/11 song. But it doesn’t matter — he’s got “it” … true star quality.

After James’ behavior and goofy past (see above) I was impressed at how the behind the scenes info about American Idol is kept so highly classified or at least obfuscated — like the bit about the Idol’s mansion being so haunted that Zak Bagans wanted to investigate — though word is that all anyone found was Taylor Hicks’ career. For Idol junkies, one recent book did break the seal a bit. Former production assistant Justin Buckles has written American Idol Exposeda rare tell-all — the writing is “pitchy” but it does give some idea of the production realities — and petty rivalrys and jealousies — that go into making this amazing, beautiful, amazing show.

ALSO: if you like funny web writing, American Idol recaps seems to bring out the best in people. We are addicted to Richard Lawson at Gawker and Paul F. Tompkins at Vulture.